Cooperation resulted in new ideas about sustainability

Vaggeryd Library in Småland has participated in an international cooperation focusing on teaching and disseminating sustainability, resulting in exhibitions, topic weeks and other activities.

The “My Green Identity” project was part of the Nordplus Adult exchange programme, one of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ programmes for cooperation and exchange in the Nordic and Baltic regions. Vaggeryd Library had already worked with several Nordplus projects as part of the programme.

Maria Sandström Låstberg is a children’s librarian who worked on the project:

“We had previously worked with the city library in Åbo, Finland, and when they wanted to apply for a sustainability project we thought it sound interesting. And it was – we have been able to share good ideas and gained many new ones,” she says.

Many partners

Ten libraries and organisations in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania cooperated within the project. One condition of Nordplus Adult is that the participating countries must have local partners. Vaggeryd Library worked with Remida, a creative upcycling and education centre run by the municipality’s administrative unit for children and education.

In August 2019, all the partners met at an initial project meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania, and discussed how to work on sustainability.

“A library is a place with information, so we discussed how to work on disseminating it. For example, we have an environment corner with the “A green corner” exhibition, which we talked about,” says Maria.

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The project also had enough time to meet up in Åbo, before the pandemic put a stop to travelling.

“It is interesting to see that the libraries are similar, even though the countries are different. Finland works a great deal on influencing politicians – for example, we held a demonstration when we were there – while we work more with what individuals can do, such as when we held a workshop on a Japanese clothes-mending technique, Sashiko, and we have a seed library,” says Maria.

Topic weeks in the square

In March, at the height of the pandemic, Vaggeryd Library held a topic week with outdoor activities in a square in the town. An artist created an environmental space by rolling out turf and making paths, and the library had storytelling times. The municipality’s ecologist came to talk about environment acidification.

“It was appreciated by children from schools and preschools who built tracks for robots using upcycled materials, among other things, and could get creative with waste flowers donated by a florist,” says Maria.

Last year, the project should have had a concluding meeting in Vaggeryd, but instead this became two digital days. During the project, the library and its partners have stayed in contact and shared ideas via Zoom. Working digitally has been adequate, but Maria thinks that physical meetings are very important, especially when many people are involved.

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